Three Faculty Members Recognized

Fine and Holz Appointed Endowed Chairs; Shatz Named University Professor

In recognition of their outstanding achievements, Yeshiva University recently honored two faculty members at Stern College for Women and one at Yeshiva College.

At Stern College, Dr. Marina Holz has been named the Doris and Ira Kukin Chair in Biology and Dr. David Shatz has been appointed University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Thought. Dr. Steven Fine has been named the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Chair in Jewish History at Yeshiva College.

“Each of these individuals is a leader and an innovator whose work advances education and research at Yeshiva University,” said Dr. Selma Botman, vice president for academic affairs and provost at YU. “We recognize their accomplishments with the highest honors the University bestows: named chairs and a University professorship. David, Marina, and Steve represent for students and their colleagues what is worthy and noble about the life of the mind. The advances they have made in science and the humanities come through dedicated and tireless work, relentless focus and the joy that new knowledge brings.”

Dr. Marina Holz

Holz’s work focuses on the study of the molecular mechanisms that contribute to carcinogenesis, particularly the signaling events mediated by estrogen in hormone-dependent breast cancer, in addition to other tumor syndromes. She is currently searching for new approaches to the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer.

“I am glad that the University recognizes that thriving research programs tremendously benefit the undergraduate students, who can get experience engaging in hands-on research, utilizing state-of-the-art instrumentation and enhancing the theoretical knowledge obtained in the classroom,” said Holz. “Research experience translates into many tangible benefits for undergraduate students, such as publications in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations and national research awards. Our students are well-equipped and extremely competitive when applying to graduate programs in science, medicine or law.”

Shatz’s recent work includes publications and delivered papers on the intertwined issues of religious diversity, fanaticism and religious humility. Most recently, he contributed an essay on religious Zionism to a forthcoming volume on messianism from Indiana University Press. Shatz is also completing papers focusing on the problem of evil and on philosophies of the commandments in the modern period.

“I am deeply grateful for this honor,” he said. “On the one hand, it feels like the culmination of a career. On the other hand it’s energizing and will inspire me to move forward into new areas of research and teaching.”

david shatz
Dr. David Shatz

“The strength of the Stern College faculty resides in the model of the teacher/scholar, individuals committed to educating the next generation while simultaneously expanding the boundaries of knowledge through their research and writings,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern College. “Dr. David Shatz and Dr. Marina Holz represent precisely this model, and their national reputations attest to the breadth, quality and originality of their work.”

Fine is working on a digital restoration of the Arch of Titus, following his team’s 2012 discovery of the original yellow pigment used to color the Arch’s menorah nearly 2,000 years ago. He is also working on a history of the menorah, which will be published by Harvard University Press, and will complete a fellowship at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California, next year.

“A sign of a healthy research-focused academic community is the way it respects and honors its members, beginning with teaching assistants and lecturers and continuing up the academic ladder,” said Fine.  “Students can feel the vibrancy of YU’s research-centered faculty and that is really essential to their own development.”

Dr. Steven Fine

He added, “Long before I came to YU, I had read and studied the works of the impeccable scholar Pinkhos Churgin, whose areas of research—Jewish history during the Second Temple period and Aramaic translations of the Bible—are central to my own research. I am happy that the chair honors his memory.”

“Professor Fine’s distinguished publications, which enrich our knowledge of Jewish visual culture and which help to provide a unique context for the study of classical Jewish texts and institutions in late antiquity, are prime examples of the enriching insights offered by academic Jewish study,” said Dr. Barry Eichler, dean of Yeshiva College. “He continues Dr. Churgin’s passionate commitment to Jewish education and the building of Yeshiva University.”